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Credit where it's due

February 17, 2008

I enjoyed Paul Lieberman's article on Levon Helm ["Levon Helm Is Still Ready for the Load," Feb. 10] as I sat in sunny West Virginia waiting to see the Grammy Awards. I certainly hope he wins in the traditional folk category.

I think one reason I hope he wins is because my husband, Tracy Schwarz, wrote the lead song, "Poor Old Dirt Farmer," back in the '60s as he was plowing his dry, dusty fields in south-central Pennsylvania. It is not "traditional," as stated on Levon's CD. Tracy recorded it twice -- once with his band of 46 years, the New Lost City Ramblers, and again with the Strange Creek Singers.

Levon's people have apologized, but it is especially gratifying when a songwriter gets written credit for his creativity. Levon, of all people, should know this, judging from your article.

Ginny Hawker

Coxs Mills, W. Va.

Helm did win the Grammy. A spokesman for Helm said the song credit mistake was due to an initial background check, which uncovered a traditional song called "Dirt Farmer." The credit has been corrected in the second edition of the "Dirt Farmer" album.

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